AMCA Troupes Aeról Portées Mle. 56


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The AMCA Troupes Aeról Portées Mle. 56 is a M20 75 mm recoilless rifle mounted on an ACMA Vespa scooter used by the French Airborne Forces in Algeria and Indochina. Produced by ACMA, a licensed assembler of Vespas in France, it mounted an M20, a U.S.-made light anti-armor cannon which could be fired from the shoulder but still penetrate armour 100 mm thick. The recoil is counteracted by venting propellant gases out the rear of the weapon which eliminated the need for a mechanical recoil system or heavy mounts, which enabled the weapon to be fired within the Vespa frame. The weapon, ammo (attached to the side) and crew were dropped via parachute into action and the weapon could even be fired on the move.

The scooters would be parachute-dropped in groups of two, accompanied by a two-man team. The gun was carried on one scooter, while the ammunition was loaded on the other. Due to the lack of recoil, the weapon could be fired effectively while the scooter was underway by experienced gun crews. Roughly 800 of these scooters were deployed in the Algerian and French Indochina conflicts.

The "Bazooka Vespa" was relatively cheap: Vespas cost roughly $500 at the time, and the M20s were plentiful.

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